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King demands scaled-back coronation as he is ‘aware’ of costs crisis

King Charles' Coronation will be 'rooted in traditions' says host

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Buckingham Palace hopes the slimmed-down ceremony – expected to last only a third of the time and involve a quarter of the number of people invited to the last Coronation almost 70 years ago – will blend the traditional elements of a deeply religious Church of England service with a celebration of modern, multicultural Britain.

Downing Street said it was still considering whether there would be a bank holiday to mark the celebration but insiders thought it unlikely as the big day is on a Saturday. Each bank holiday costs the British economy around £831 million, according to some financial models.

Royal sources said the date had been fixed by the organisers – the Duke of Norfolk, who in the hereditary role of Earl Marshal oversees big royal events, the Royal Household, the Government, and the Church of England – because it was best for all parties.

The same sources suggested one of the biggest factors in paring it down is the cost-of-living crisis and the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

One source told the Daily Express: “The Earl Marshal, Government and the Royal Household are all very conscious of the current financial circumstances facing the country.”

Another said: “It’s something everyone is very aware of.”

Charles III and his Queen Consort will be crowned eight months after his accession and the death of Elizabeth II.

The palace said the ceremony, which will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will see the King crowned alongside Queen Camilla.

In a statement it said: “The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.”

The service is expected to last little more than an hour, compared to three hours for the Queen’s in 1953, and a congregation of 2,000 instead of the 8,000 then is expected to be invited to the Abbey, where Coronations have taken place for more than 900 years.

Charles III, the oldest monarch to accede to the throne, will be 74 by the time of the Coronation. He will be anointed with holy oil, receive the orb, Coronation ring and sceptre, be crowned with the majestic St Edward’s Crown and blessed during the historic ceremony.

Camilla will also be anointed with holy oil and crowned, just as the Queen Mother was when she was crowned Queen alongside King George VI in 1937.

Coronations have traditionally taken place during the week. Queen Elizabeth II’s was on a Tuesday. There is a full set of sporting fixtures due on Saturday May 6.

Palace officials said it was likely to be left up to sports governing bodies to decide whether they want to postpone fixtures that day, although police may also be concerned about officers needed for the Coronation and celebrations around the country.

May 6 is also the birthday of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie – Charles’s grandson – who will be turning four on the day. It is not clear yet whether Harry and Meghan will be invited to the service, Palace officials said guest lists had not yet been confirmed.

The date was also the wedding anniversary of the late Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, while the King’s grandfather George VI held his coronation in the month of May.

It is understood that the ceremony will include the same core elements of the traditional Anglican service, which has retained a similar structure for more than 1,000 years, while also including people from other religions.

Some traditions will not survive though. Peers are expected to wear suits and dresses instead of ceremonial robes, and a number of rituals, such as the presentation of gold ingots, are in line to be axed.

Charles is expected to sign a proclamation formally declaring the date of the Coronation at a meeting of the Privy Council later this year. Traditionally that would then be read from St James’s Palace.

The King acceded to the throne on September 8, immediately on the death of his mother, Elizabeth II – the nation’s longest reigning monarch.

Plans for the major event are known by the codename Operation Golden Orb, which sets out the blueprint for the service and the pageantry surrounding it.

Charles, who is still given the title of Defender of the Faith to recognise his role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, will be anointed by the Archbishop and take his oath to “maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine worship, discipline, and government thereof, as the law established in England”.

Dressed in tartan, he and the Queen Consort attended a reception in the village of Ballater, outside Balmoral, yesterday to thank people in Abderdeenshire who organised the late Queen’s final journey from her beloved Highland home in a cortege to Edinburgh.

The couple met community groups and were presented with a stained-glass panel by the Lieutenancy of Aberdeenshire Commission. It had been designed to commemorate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

Her Coronation on June 2, 1953 was a carnival of celebration and a morale boost for a nation starved of pageantry in the wake of the Second World War.

People began to bed down in the streets of London as early as 48 hours before just to make sure they had a standing place to watch the Queen pass by in the gold state coach in a grand procession.

Charles, who was only four at the time, attended the service.

He has recalled his mother going to say goodnight to him the night before while wearing the crown so she could get used to its weight on her head.

The 73-year-old monarch has also described the “thousands of people gathered in The Mall outside Buckingham Palace chanting ‘We want the Queen’ and keeping me awake at night”.

An estimated 27 million people in Britain alone watched the 1953 Coronation live on television and the images were beamed around the world.

The Duke of Norfolk, who also organised the Queen’s funeral last month, has been banned from driving for six months after pleading guilty to using his mobile phone behind the wheel – despite claiming he needed his licence to arrange the forthcoming ceremony.

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